The Bay Area Council Poll is the only survey of its kind that provides a comprehensive and incisive look at the attitudes of Bay Area residents on the most topical and critical issues affecting the region. The Bay Area Council Poll provides a ranking of the region’s top issues, gauges what direction residents see the region heading overall and how they think the economy is performing. The poll also examines residents’ attitudes on a range of other key issues, including housing, transportation, water/drought. The results include breakdowns by county and, for certain subjects, by age and/or income level.
Bay Area COVID vaccine hesitancy highest among Republicans (March 31)
As concerns grow about a possible fourth COVID surge and public health officials race to roll out vaccines, the 2021 Bay Area Council Poll finds that a small, yet significant number of respondents harbor skepticism about or outright resistance to getting vaccinated. The results come as the state tomorrow plans to expand vaccine eligibility to residents 50 years and older. The findings highlight the challenge ahead in achieving full vaccination levels, but also suggest approaches for winning over those who remain hesitant.
Returning to offices, transit, school and events after COVID (April 13)
As California eyes a June date to fully lift COVID restrictions, the 2021 Bay Area Council Poll offers new insights on the pandemic’s impacts on life and work, what those impacts could mean moving forward and how they mean different things for different people. Some of the biggest impacts involve how and where people work and how they get around. The poll found that among those who are currently employed about a third (34%) don’t plan to travel to a workplace as often as they did before the pandemic hit. And just 38% said they will resume commuting to their workplace five days a week, a steep drop from the 58% who said they made the same work-week journey before COVID.
Bay Area Residents Cite Significant Concerns About the Burdens, Obstacles Facing Businesses (April 27)
Even as the Bay Area economy begins to reopen and recover from a year-long COVID shutdown, a strong majority of residents harbor serious concerns about how astronomical housing costs, high taxes and onerous regulations make the region an inhospitable place to do business, according to the 2021 Bay Area Council Poll. The findings highlight a growing debate about the Bay Area’s economic climate, the extent to which companies, investors and workers are fleeing for lower-cost destinations both within California and outside the state and what it all means for the region’s ability to compete economically in the years ahead, particularly as the rise in remote work diminishes the importance of geography in deciding where to invest in new jobs.
Strong Support for Merging BART and Caltrain (April 30)
Merging two of the region’s largest commuter rail systems into a single system ringing the bay is a winning idea, according to a vast majority of respondents in the 2021 Bay Area Council Poll. The idea of merging Caltrain and BART has been around for decades, but hasn’t gained enough traction to become anything more than an idea. That could be changing, with Caltrain exploring new governance and management models and public transit systems working to restore ridership that has plummeted during the COVID pandemic. The Bay Area Council Poll found 83% of respondents support combining BART and Caltrain into a single integrated system. Support rises to 86% when respondents are told that a merged system “would provide for a more efficient, convenient and better service and allow continuous rail around the bay.”
Homelessness Dominates Concerns, with Housing Costs, Affordability Close Behind (May 4)
How bad is the Bay Area’s homeless problem? So bad that not even a year under the strangling grip of the deadly COVID pandemic could dislodge homelessness as the most serious issue facing the region, according to the 2021 Bay Area Council Poll. The poll also found interesting shifts in attitudes about housing and traffic over the past year. Attitudes about the overall direction of the Bay Area remain largely unchanged from last year, with 26% of respondents saying the region is on the right track, half saying the wrong track and 23% uncertain. Economically, the poll found reason for optimism. While 40% of respondents believe the economy is doing worse than it was six months ago, 52% expect the economy will be doing somewhat better (35%) or much better (17%) six months from now.
Homelessness ranked highest among a set of issues that cause Bay Area residents concern. According to the Bay Area Council Poll, 60% of respondents said they are very concerned about homelessness, with housing coming in a distant second at 44% very concerned followed by climate change at 40%, wildfires and income inequality both at 38% and racial inequality at 36%. Homelessness also topped a list of the Bay Area’s most important problems in an open-ended question, with 24% of poll respondents naming it as the Bay Area’s most important problem ahead of housing costs/availability (16%) and COVID (14%). In 2015, just 3% of Bay Area Council Poll respondents identified homelessness as the region’s most important problem.